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2012 Bat Rules for High School Baseball

The start of baseball season is upon us, and along with it come important rule changes to non-wood baseball bats for high school players.

The new rule:

  • Requires all non-wood bats to have a silk-screened mark with the letters “BBCOR.”
  • Means many two-piece bats will be illegal.
  • Focuses on minimizing risk and improving play, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), which governs rules for competitive high school sports.

The BBCOR Standard for Baseball Bats

BBCOR stands for Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution, which means that a bat meets pronounced elasticity requirements.

The new BBCOR standard replaces the previous standard, Ball Exit Speed Ratio (BESR). Whereas BESR only measured the speed of the ball coming off the bat — which can actually increase with bat use — BBCOR takes into account the “trampoline effect” of the ball meeting the bat, and is more accurate over the life of the bat.

This rule change is based on NCAA-directed research, which found that composite-barrel bats fell out of compliance with the BESR standard as they aged.

Once broken in, composite-barrel bats showed increased ball exit speed of 10 to 15 mph.

Two-piece Bats

The NFHS rule also means that many two-piece bats will be illegal, as they have barrels that overlay the handle, creating a small bump at that point.

Under the new rule, bats must have a “smooth cylinder implement from the top of the cap to the top of the knob.”

There are some two-piece bats — composite handle and aluminum barrel — that are manufactured to look like one piece, and do not have this bump. They will meet BBCOR standards.

The rule also states that the knob of the bat must not be altered.

Some players use tape to taper the end of their bat so it is, in effect, made smooth at the end. This has never been legal under NFHS rules.

Although this new rule might initially be an inconvenience to parents and coaches who may have to buy new bats, it is in place for the players’ safety, and to preserve the integrity of the game.

See if your bat is legal at Washington State University's Sports Science Lab website.

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